Buying the best solid state bass amp is a difficult thing to do as they are so many bass amps out there.
Bass amps have been around for a long time. But the concept of a solid state bass amp is still relatively new to the world of music, though these are now mainstream.
Solid state amps were first introduced in the 1950s and became popular in the 1970s because they were cheaper, lighter, and less sensitive to temperature changes than tube amps.
They also were more reliable than tube amps, which are traditionally prone to failure due to possible malfunctions or damage from power surges.
We have researched the market for more than 25 hours to find the top-end solid state bass amp. After researching the market, we selected 5 excellent brands with their top product, which you can find below.
1. Trace Elliot ELF Ultra Compact Bass Amplifier
The Trace Elliot ELF Ultra Compact Bass Amplifier is one of the cheapest, lightweight, and versatile amp out there.
This is the amp you can bring with you to most gigs as it weighs less than 2 pounds. Also, it pushes 200 watts at 8 ohms with a great tone.
This power output for the speakers is plenty and much more than enough for most situations.
Why buying a solid state bass amp?
If you are looking for the top solid state bass amp, you are at the right place. Unfortunately, we won’t help you settle the debate whether it is better to have tube vs solid state vs hybrid as a bass amp head or bass combo.
However, we will help you layout the pros and cons of each and then help you hone in on the solid state bass amp that you would like.
There are many reasons why a bassist would prefer a solid state amp over a tube amp.
In fact, solid states still remain the most popular choice for bassists around the world.
First and foremost, solid state bass amps tend to be cheaper and a lot less costly to maintain. This is mostly because there are no tubes to replace if they end up malfunctioning. Also, solid states usually weigh much less, so they are definitely more portable.
In terms of sound and tone, some people prefer solid states over bass tube amps as well.
They can produce more power than a similarly sized tube amp. Additionally, solid states often have faster transient response times and a cleaner more transparent sound. You may also find more tone options and ways to change your tone vs a tube amp.
However, if you are truly after that vintage distorted tube amp sound, a solid state may not get the job done.
There are solid state tube emulators, but most of them aren’t close to getting a real all-tube bass amp. Solid states tend to clip harshly and won’t give you that nice soft and warm compression and overdrive that tube amps deliver.
What is the Best Solid State Bass Amp?
Below are the five top brands when it comes to solid state bass amps.
- Eden WTX264 Solid State Bass Amp Head
- Gallien-Krueger 1001 RB-II
- Markbass Little Mark III
- Orange 4 Stroke 500W Solid State Bass Amp
- Ampeg Portaflex PF-500
1. Trace Elliot ELF Ultra Compact Bass Amplifier
The Trace Elliot ELF is the excellent when it comes to solid state bass amp for quality versus money. It is our top pick for those who want a powerful solid state bass amp that is very lightweight.
Weighing in at less than 2 pounds, it is pound for pound one of the lightest bass amps on the market. And definitely one of the cheapest that does the job.
By the way, one thing that I quite like with this amp is that you do not have to read 200 pages booklet or manual that comes with the amplifier to understand how it works.
We love the versatility of this bass amp head, which is both loaded with features and value. If we had to pick one amp considering performance and price, the Trace Elliot Elf would be the one.
The Elf has a power handling of 200 watts at 8 ohms. It is loaded with a slew of features including Elf Enhance knob, DI output, 3 band rotary EQ, and a gain and master knob. And best of all, it is thinner and more compact than most bass heads, which adds to its portability.
We view the Markbass Little Mark head as its direct competitor. While the Markbass does have more power, we found the tone to be better with the Elf.
It is still amazing how this little unit can deliver such as good tone with ample power at an affordable price. This is why it is our top pick.
- Extremely lightweight
- Very compact and portable
- 260 watts @ 4 ohms
- Great overall tone
2. Gallien-Krueger 800 Watt
The Gallien Krueger 800-800 Watt is a legendary solid state bass amp by a legendary brand.
This is an outstanding solid state bass amp if you want a premium grade warm tone at a reasonable price (well it is a little high priced, to be honest – but well worth it).
Additionally, the 800 W amplifier is quite compact and lightweight at around 8 pounds, which is great for gigs. All of this is packed into an 800-watt bass amp at 4 ohms.
The Gallien Krueger is also completely decked out with features.
There is a lush 4 band EQ, proprietary Gallien Krueger voicing filters, and of course, the GIVE technology also known as Gate Induced Valve Effect, which gives you that signature Krueger growl sound.
This is done through the boost, tweeter, and woofer knobs, which add tube-like harmonics. Also, this unique bi-amp system sends high frequencies to the horn.
In terms of connectivity, you have a balanced DI with level control, tuner output, FX loops, and ground lift switches. So basically all of the essential items in a legendary bass amp.
- Gallien Krueger Legendary Sound
- Very reasonable price though still quite high
- 800 watt @ 4 ohms
- Unique Horn Bi-Amp system
3. Markbass Little Mark III
The Little Mark series is the flagship Markbass amp and has become the industry standard for an affordable, portable, and powerful bass amp.
We really like the Little Mark III’s solid state preamp, which has a nice warm and natural sound, which tends to accurately reproduce the true tone of your bass.
The interesting thing about this bass amp is that it is not so little in terms of power.
This is a 500-watt amp at 4 ohms and is able to deliver thundering power to any venue while maintaining extremely compact.
Perhaps the biggest competitor is the Eden WTX264, which is even more compact but less powerful.
So if you like the Eden WTX264 but with more power and more controls, the Little Mark III is the perfect solution. With the Little Mark II, you get a 4 band EQ, balanced input and DI, a variable pre-shape filter, and a vintage loudspeaker emulator.
- Powerful and lightweight
- 500 watt amp at 4 ohms
- Flagship Markbass product
- Nice warm natural sound
4. Orange 4 Stroke 400W Solid State Bass Amp
The Orange 4 Stroke 400W is one of these great solid state bass amps if you want the classic note clarity of Orange amps with that detailed response.
This bass amp pushes 400 watts of power, has a 100% analog design, with a Class AB input buffer circuit. This is the main reason you get a crystal clear note definition and detailed response.
Additionally, you have the tools to completely sculpt your sound. There is a 4 band parametric EQ with an 18 dB cut or boost. The Q curves on these EQs are setups to optimize precision and usability.
With these detailed EQs, you can get rock grit sounds and smooth sounds or any bass sound you really want. Finally, with the Class A compressor, which can be activated with a footswitch.
On the back, you have some of the usual suspects. There is a two parallel speaker output and balanced and line-level outputs. All in all, you can’t really go wrong with the Orange brand. They make solid bass amps and the 4 Stroke is one of the best with the Class AB output stage.
- 400 watts of power
- 4 band parametric EQ
- Class A compressor
- Class AB output stage
5. Ampeg Portaflex PF-500
The Ampeg Portaflex PF-500 is the best solid state bass amp for those who want a compact and very budget-friendly bass amp.
This little amp weighs in at around 14 pounds and pushes 500 watts of power at 4 ohms.
You can get all of this at a ridiculously low price and the bass amplifier is priced much lower than competitive products.
Plus, it is made by Ampeg, which is a very reputable brand in the music industry.
You can pair this with a PF Series cabinet to create the matching set. In terms of controls, there is plenty in this budget bass amp.
You have a 5 position mid tone control, 3 band EQ, onboard compressor, FX loop, and a foot-switchable mute.
It is definitely powerful enough to power most gigs. Overall, this is a great little cheap bass amp that is portable and has a decent tone.
- 500 Watts @ 4 ohms
- 3 band EQ
- Onboard Compressor
- Reputable brand
The bass is one of the most important aspects of a sound.
A strong, rich low end can really make or break a track.
However, bass amps can be very expensive and hard to transport. It’s not easy to find one that’s both portable and powerful enough for your needs.
That’s why a solid state amp is best for those who don’t want to carry around a heavy amp, need portability, or just want something not so expensive.
They typically produce more highs than lows but what they lack in the low end they make up for in power. Above, we have summarised some of the best solid state bass amps on the market today.
To be clear, if you are looking for a light bass amp, cheap and versatile, then go for the Trace solution. If you do not mind putting in a little more money, then go for the Orange, Gallien, and Ampeg. I have to say that the Gallien is really a monster when it comes amps.